tomatoes growing on a vine road sign: "Extraterrestrial Highway"While introductions and conclusions are like on and off ramps on the highway, titles are like signs that let you know something is coming, e.g., road work, school crossing, curvy road ahead.  Effective titles capture your interest in a succinct way.

I once had a student who wrote a humorous essay about his family’s experience with a tomato grown from seeds that had been in outer space (his child’s school participated in the Tomatosphere / Space Station Explorers educational program).  The student entitled his essay “My Wife and the Space Tomato.” Everyone in the class wanted to read and comment on that essay, and years later, I still remember the title.

What Titles Can Do

  • Titles can offer your point of view and indicate your thesis assertion, e.g., “The Importance of Sleep.”
  • Titles can also offer the topic without indicating your thesis assertion, e.g., “Sleep Deprivation.”
  • Titles can indicate the tone and approach of the essay, e.g., “ZZZs and Zestfulness.”

Tips for Creating Titles

  • Consider your purpose, audience, and tone.
  • Keep the title simple and easy to read.
  • Use a key word or phrase that indicates the topic of the essay.
  • Accurately indicate what the essay is about, so that there is “truth in advertising.”

Important to Remember about Titles

  • A title is not and should not be exactly the same as your thesis sentence.